In 1907, a German company known as Dampf-Fraft-Wagen, or DKW, started out by producing engines for bicycles. In the 1920s, DKW began producing 2-stroke engines for motorcycles, and their designs went on to dominate all forms of motorcycle racing from 1922 to 1936, winning 45 championships. In 1956, DKW changed its name to Motorradwerk Zschopau, or MZ. Due to wartime conditions, MZ continued to produce engines and bikes in East Germany, but it was eventually purchased by Hong Leong Group out of Malaysia. The MZ 125 was introduced in 2002, and the 2005 version offers the same high quality and dependable performance we have come to expect from MZ.
While there are some who are under the impression that a 125cc motard style bike is only suitable for teenagers or small women, Motorradwerk Zschopau has produced such a well-engineered balanced machine, that larger and much older riders will enjoy their time in the saddle, as well.
The power plant of the 2005 MZ 125 is a five-valve, 4-stroke engine with liquid cooling, and 124cc displacement. Although the engine boasts only 15 horsepower and 8.6 foot pounds of torque, the thrill of motoring around urban streets will bring a smile to the face of the rider. Fuel is delivered via Mikuni carburetor, and MZ claims the bike is capable of reaching 70 miles per hour. The main fuel cell holds 3.30 gallons, while the reserve fuel tank has a capacity of .95 gallons. The power is transferred to the road via a five-speed manual transmission, connected to the chain driven flywheel.
The bumps and potholes underneath the 2005 MZ 125 are absorbed by the Marzocchi telescopic fork in the front, and the White Power rear monoshock. Handling feels stable in turns, and in emergency braking situations. Agility and handling are a huge improvement over what the average scooter rider would expect, due to the 17 inch wheel set, and 56.7 inch wheelbase. The 130/70 rear wheel is stable, while a 110/70 rubber tire wraps the front wheel. Deceleration is responsively handled by a single 280mm disc with a 2-pot sliding caliper on the front wheel, and a hydraulic 220mm single disc with a 2-pot sliding caliper in the rear.
The motard style seat of the 2005 MZ 125 has a height of 32.7 inches, and is capable of supporting two passengers, although the bike is truly built for short distances. The wide handlebars place the rider in excellent position to control this agile and perky machine.
The basic instrument panel is hidden by the small headlight shroud, protecting the unit from direct sunlight. Centrally located, the panel gives an analog speedometer and tripmeter, along with lights for the main light beam, low oil pressure, coolant over temperature, turn indicators, and a light to indicate the transmission being placed in neutral.
The 2005 MZ 125 is most often used as a capable beginner bike for power restricted riders in the UK, and as a platform for the racing circuit by teenagers. Yet all who climb aboard are surprised by its ability to deftly handle basic urban transport, while achieving fuel mileage in excess of 90 miles per gallon.